To complement Aaron Lacy’s post on treating colleagues with respect, I’d like to expand that concept to include treating patients with respect too. That means if a patient says she’s freezing, and adding insult to injury, has been sick as well,  adjust the thermostat a little, please, even if you as the doctor isn’t cold. When a stray cat came to our door in the dead of winter, ...

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Announce to friends that you have cancer, and they will probably react with sympathy and compassion. Tell them that you've broken your leg, and they'll offer to get your groceries and drive you to medical appointments. Share that you suffer from depression -- and the sound of silence will fill your head. Depression has been my companion for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandmother, who immigrated to this country ...

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Many months have passed since the spring day when I was hit with the news from my yearly mammogram, but those typewritten words are forever etched in my memory: "The density appears greater in left breast." My doctor comforted me with statistics showing that mammograms aren't 100 percent accurate — but she also lost no time in sending me to a surgeon named Dr. Prewitt. Upon meeting him, I immediately felt ...

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Behind that computer in your doctor’s office, there is a war going on. As a patient, it affects your care. Your doctor is pushing back on the forces eroding your quality of care, but they are being torn apart by legislation, bureaucracy, and big business. Unlike, 30 years ago when doctors controlled patient care, your doctor is being outflanked by powerful people  that did not go to medical school or swear an oath to protect. Your doctor gave up a ...

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STAT_Logo Thanks to a surprising and devastating diagnosis, I know more than most physicians about what it’s like to live with the brain cancer known as glioblastoma, everything from self-titrating my anti-epileptic medications to making sure the right ICD-10 code appears on my MRI referrals. As much as I’d rather not have this expertise, I’ve ...

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A partial excerpt from What Patients Want: Anecdotes and Advice. To complement posts regarding what doctors wish their patients knew, here are some things that I as a patient wish doctors knew: We’re not here for the magazines. We’re here because we’re sick, which often means we’re scared too. We’re often ...

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I often see patients for follow-up and learn they are not taking the medications either I or another health care provider prescribed. Sometimes the reason is obvious, and other times the patient is reluctant to give up the information. Patients have the right to take or not take medication that was prescribed. But, sometimes by not doing so, they are putting their health at risk. As a doctor, I want my ...

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“I know you think your organization is patient-centered … but it really isn’t.” The statement from a rare disease foundation president to a room full of industry partners stung as we observed a candid but cordial exchange about what “patient-centered” has come to mean in today’s health industry world. Everyone knew what they were hearing was right. Rewind a few days to the CBI Independent Medical Education and Grants Breakthrough Summit, where ...

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Healthy or not, everybody has his or her share of frustrations in life. The chronically ill don’t have a corner on that market! This piece focuses on frustrations that are unique to those with ongoing health issues. I’ve experienced all of them as a result of being chronically ill with a debilitating illness that settled in after I contracted what appeared to be an acute viral infection in 2001. Here are ...

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My job as a standardized patient (SP) at several different medical schools means that I spend a lot of time being interviewed and examined by students at every stage of their education. Occasionally, the interview is of such a nature that the SPs are told to dress in a certain “costume” because it signifies to the student that there is something about our cultural representation that affects our medical care. ...

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